Top 5 Things to Know In the Market on Wednesday

1. China downgraded by Moody’s for first time since 1989

Moody’s Investors Service weighed in on China, downgrading the long-term local and foreign currency issuer ratings on the world’s second largest economy by one notch, to A1 from Aa3, as the country’s government grapples with the challenges of rising financial risks stemming from years of credit-fueled stimulus.

The credit rating agency warned that China’s financial strength is likely to deteriorate in the coming years, as its economy slows and its national debt keeps rising.

Moody’s did change the outlook for China to stable from negative.

Meanwhile, China’s Finance Ministry responded that the downgrade, Moody’s first for the country since 1989, overestimated the risks to the economy and was based on “inappropriate methodology”.

2. Metals slump on China downgrade

Iron ore Chinese futures slumped more than 6% on Wednesday, leading a global decline in metals after Moody’s downgraded the rating of the world’s second largest economy for the first time in nearly three decades.

Nickel slumped 1.8% and copper fell 0.7% by 5:55AM ET (9:55GMT) on worries over Moody’s expectations that “China’s financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years, with economy-wide debt continuing to rise as potential growth slows.”

The Asian giant is the top user of such materials.

3. Fed minutes on tap

The Federal Reserve (Fed) will release minutes of its most recent policy meeting on Wednesday at 2:00PM ET (18:00GMT) with investors searching for hints on the central bank’s stance for moving ahead with the removal of accommodative policy.

The Fed left interest rates unchanged following its meeting on May 3 and gave a positive assessment of the U.S. economy, suggesting it was still on track for two more rate hikes this year.

But a recent run of disappointing U.S. economic data combined with signs of deepening political turmoil in the White House saw investors temper expectations last week for higher interest rates in the months ahead, although odds have recently recovered.

According to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool, Fed fund futures currently price in the chance of the first hike arriving in June at around 79%.

Investors will also take in real estate data such as April existing home sales or the house price index for March later on Wednesday.

4. Gold dips, dollar steady ahead of Fed minutes

Gold prices extended their decline on Wednesday, adding to losses of around $6.00 in the prior session, as odds for a Fed rate hike in June recovered ahead of the publication of the minutes.

Comex gold futures fell by $3.41, or about 0.3%, to $1,251.09 a troy ounce by 5:57AM ET (9:57GMT).

Meanwhile, the dollar was little changed against major rivals on Wednesday as market players waited to peruse the details from the Fed’s last meeting.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was unchanged at 97.28 by 5:57AM ET (9:57GMT).

5. Oil continues bullish run ahead of OPEC, inventories

Oil prices edged higher on Wednesday in what could be their sixth straight session of gains on the likelihood that OPEC will extend production cuts for another nine months when it meets on Thursday.

Most market analysts expect the oil cartel to extend output cuts for a further nine months until March 2018, instead of six months as previously expected.

The gains came despite bearish news on U.S. crude inventories.

After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories fell by 1.5 million barrels in the week ended May 19, missing expectations for a decline of 2.7 million.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly oil supplies reportat 10:30AM ET (14:30GMT) Wednesday amid expectations for a draw of 2.419 million barrels.

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